Day 5: The Grinch December 11, 2013Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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Today’s sweater was a tribute to my former holiday self.
Oddly enough, I’ve gotten more comments from people on this sweater than on the rest of the sweaters I’ve worn. I’m thinking it’s because the Grinch and his dog Max are the most “iconic” (or should I say commercialized) images I’ve featured thus far, but nonetheless, I’ve had a grand ol’ time responding to people’s comments. In fact, I had a very lively conversation about my sweater at the post office today.
This sweater might have generated the most comments thus far, but I promise you this, the best sweaters have yet to come!
Day 4: Not the gumdrop buttons! December 10, 2013Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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Today’s sweater is one of my favorite holiday sweaters, as well as one that I had a really good time making. In fact, I found myself quoting Shrek quite a bit.
While I would love to take full credit for the concept of this sweater, I simply can’t. This sweater is a recreation of a knitted sweater I saw on Pinterest. However, I think my personal touch makes my sweater ten times better!
Day 3: A red-nosed kind of day December 6, 2013Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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With a 19-degree high, today was a day that was fully capable of turning your nose red if you were outside too long. Coincidentally, my holiday sweater had a red nose of its own.
While Rudolph couldn’t keep his nose from turning red, I bet all the other reindeer noses turned red today, too.
Day 2: A Classic December 4, 2013Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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Surprise! Day 2 immediately followed Day 1!
Today’s Santa shirt is one that I’ve had in my wardrobe for a few years.
My mom, two sisters and I made these back in 2008. And funny story, due to a mishap involving my older sister and red puffy paint, there’s still evidence of our Santa sweater craft-venture in our dining room. (I won’t let her forget this either because of my own previous mishaps involving red paint in my parents house. The red-paint torch I carried for a decade was passed to her because of this mishap, and I feel it’s my obligation to remind her that she now carries it.)
Keep in mind, however, I am not showing this mishap because I want to shame my sister (okay, so maybe that’s part of it), but I’m sharing it because as easy as these sweaters may seem, they aren’t. A lot can go wrong. There’s a lot of room for error on these holiday gems, and sometimes mistakes can’t be fixed.
But I digress, we decided to craft matching family Santa sweaters as a throwback to the Santa sweaters my mom and her best friend crafted for their children in the ’90s. While all us “kids” have outgrown our original Santa sweaters and my mom’s friend has since passed away, this sweater is a happy reminder of a time that once was. Although I would argue that my sweater crafting skills are getting better, this original sweater will always take the cake in my book, simply because of the memories involved.
12 Days of Holiday Sweaters December 3, 2013Posted by angebhart in 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters, arts & crafts, DIY, holiday sweaters, holidays, pinterest.
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Normally, I’m not much of a holiday season person. In fact, my family believes I took after my Dad, who is an outright Grinch during the holiday season (sorry, Dad!). But, this year is a different story.
This year I am all about the holiday season.
This year I am oozing holiday cheer.
This year I am the reincarnate of holiday spirit.
Before I get too carried away with my excitement for the 2014 holiday season, I must digress because the main point of this post is not to highlight that my heart seemed to grow three sizes this year. Rather, the purpose of this post is for me to announce one of the many ways I am celebrating the holiday season.
This year I am bringing you, my small but mighty following, 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters.
What is this you ask? It’s my tribute to all the questionable apparel that comes out to play during the holiday season. From vests that are a bit too festive to turtlenecks that should never be given the light of day, I thoroughly enjoy tacky holiday apparel and want to showcase my own collection of holiday sweaters, many of which will be hand crafted by yours truly.
I will forewarn you, though — my 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters will not be continuous days. The 12 days will simply be 12 days that are most convenient for me between now and Christmas. (I know, I can be so selfish.) Actually, there’s three reasons for this lack of continuity. First, I am decorating a good majority of my sweaters by hand, thus I need time to craft these holiday gems. Second, I have a full time job and I can’t exactly wear holiday sweaters to work all the time, particularly since I anticipate some shirts being ill-fitted for the workplace. Third, a few of these shirts are tied to specific dates (for example, one is specific to Christmas Day).
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that 12 Days of Holiday Sweaters is my shindig, so I get to make the rules.
All this said, I am happy to share that Day 1 is said and done!
Day 1 was my snowman sweater.
And I wore it proudly.
Unlike some of the sweaters to come, I can’t take full credit for this holiday sweater because I had a co-conspirator: my older sister and I made semi-matching sweaters over Thanksgiving. Hers is obviously the lighter blue sweater.
I know I’m biased, but I think our snowman sweaters turned out to be pretty awesome.
Keep an eye out for Day 2!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Chirstmas December 2, 2013Posted by angebhart in arts & crafts, DIY, holidays, pinterest.
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The Boy and I recently celebrated our official anniversary (you know, the anniversary of when he asked me to be his girl…). To celebrate, I told him that we’d be having date night and that he needed to reserve an entire evening for me—and a surprise activity. And that was all the details I gave him.
Our reserved date night came and I unveiled our surprise activity: decorating Christmas stockings!
Knowing The Boy wasn’t going to be as excited as I was about decorating stockings, I made it easier on both of us by printing out templates of our favorite Christmas characters for us to work from.
Using these templates, The Boy crafted a Charlie Brown stocking,
I created a Santa Bear stocking,
and together we made a Rudolph stocking for Mocha Jo.
Surprisingly, he was a better sport about it than I imagined he would be. In fact, I would even dare to suggest he had fun.
The only thing The Boy didn’t do for himself was the gluing. When he told his mom that, she said something about if he didn’t do the gluing, he didn’t really make the stocking. Personally, I think she’s wise woman and I completely agree, but since I subjected him to an evening of arts and crafts, I figured the least I could do was help him with the glue.
After we he polished off the Christmas staple of slice-and-bake style cookies, we left our stockings to dry.
Now they hang on our wall, and we eagerly deem our stocking adventure a success.
Because our stockings turned out better than even I expected, we’ll eventually use iron-on letters to add our names, but until my holiday shopping is done, that will just have to wait.
A Turkey Celebration November 28, 2013Posted by angebhart in arts & crafts, Dog, holidays, Mocha Jo, pinterest.
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This year I celebrated Thanksgiving in style.
As you may be able to tell, I decorated this shirt (quite expertly, if you ask me) by hand using a cheap sweatshirt, felt, craft glue, buttons, and a pair of googly eyes.
Eventually I might upload and share the patterns I used to make the turkey, but today’s not that day. (However, let me know if you want the patterns and I can do it sooner rather than later.)
This shirt was super easy to make (and fueled my excitement for a couple holiday projects), but best of all, this festive turkey shirt only cost me about $10 and a couple hours of my time.
Also, for those of you keeping tabs on my beautiful Mocha Jo. She thoroughly enjoyed her first Thanksgiving. She probably had more people food than she should have, but it comes with the territory of being my dog. At the end of the day, she was full, thankful and sleepy.
Don’t wine that you don’t have one September 14, 2013Posted by angebhart in arts & crafts, DIY, pinterest.
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I did it again.
I completed another project that I am so in love with that I subject anyone and everyone to photos of it. I’m proud mom of it, if you will.
Last year, I turned a pallet into a media shelf. It still impresses me how well it turned out, and I still catch myself looking at my awesome craftsmanship. However, I have outdone myself. Big time.
Remember the old entertainment center that I gave a facelift a couple of years ago?
Well, this is what it looks like now…
This old entertainment center that my parents probably first assembled in the late 80s is now a kick ass wine rack that adds a pop of color in my particularly white kitchen. The photos help convey how amazing this project turned out, but I must say, the photos really don’t do it justice.
The best part of the project was the cost, or lack thereof. The only thing I spent money on was the green paint, which I happened to find on clearance for $8. And, since it I didn’t use anywhere near the full gallon, I have plenty leftover for future projects.
I would love to take all the credit for this project, but I do owe couple of people some credit. First, The Boy deserves a big thanks. When I was moving in May I came close to tossing the entertainment center because I didn’t have a need for it anymore. The Boy, however, convinced me otherwise by suggesting I use the piece for a future project. So I tucked the entertainment center in the window nook of my new kitchen with the notion that I would turn it into something better suited for the kitchen, either storage or perhaps a wine rack of some sort.
Second, The Boy’s Uncle Buck deserves a bigger thanks. Shortly after my move, some of The Boy’s family came over for dinner. Seeing that the entertainment center fit well in the kitchen nook and liking the wine rack idea, one of The Boy’s uncles offered to contribute his shop skills and tools to the project. Because he offered the exact help I needed to complete this project, I was bound and determined to turn the entertainment center into a wine rack. I did the painting and drew up the blueprint, while he did the cutting and (re)assembly.
So, thanks to these two, I now have a wine rack that everyone is (and rightfully should be) jealous of. Not to mention, the wine rack gives me the perfect excuse for always having wine on hand…
The lost art of quilting July 27, 2013Posted by angebhart in arts & crafts, DIY, pinterest.
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Call me an old soul, but one of my newest hobbies is quilting. I haven’t yet made a traditional quilt (because I’ve been rather short of time). But, in the past year and a half, I’ve gotten close to mastering my t-shirt quilting skills.
I was first drawn to t-shirt quilts in high school because one of my school’s elective classes was a quilting class and students made their own t-shirts quilt for their final project. Although I never took this class, I vividly remember seeing the t-shirts quilts displayed in the library during the last few weeks of school. Since then, I’ve been drawn to the idea of t-shirt quilts, primarily because I have boxes and boxes of old softball, basketball and volleyball jerseys and team shirts. I can’t bear to part with them, but most of them have seen better days.
Then about three years ago, my sisters and I tasked my mom with the job of making a family t-shirt quilt. You see, she used to sew quite a bit, and we thought it would be a good way to make my parents’ empty nest a little less empty. So one night the five us collectively picked out 25 shirts that would represent our family. With the shirts picked out, my mom started the quilt but for one reason or another, got distracted and the project sat in tote for a few months.
In that time, I was attending one of my friend’s bridal showers, at which her grandma gave her a handmade apron that I became immediately and vocally jealous of. Thinking nothing of this vocalization, the next time I saw this friend, she said she had a gift for me from her grandma. Her grandma had given me a handmade apron and oven hot pads. I was pumped—I finally had a legitimate apron! (Yes, yes, I do know how odd that sounds.) Anyway, from this, I learned that this grandma was an expert sewer.
Not having a sewing-expert grandma of my own, I asked if she would be willing to patch a few jeans for me. Not only was she willing, but when I went to pick up the patched jeans, I found out she knew how to do t-shirt quilts AND she would be willing to teach me.
The next time I was home, I slyly took my mom’s sewing machine and grabbed the forgotten t-shirt quilt tote because I was determined to finish this family t-shirt quilt. After spending many quality hours (filled with great conversation) with my friend’s grandma, I had finished my family’s t-shirt quilt in time for Christmas.
Knowing my mom had abandoned the family t-shirt quilt, I wasn’t sure if she would be excited about the quilt. But on Christmas morning, the finished quilt brought tears to my mom’s eyes. She hadn’t even noticed that I had taken her sewing machine! Given the epic battles my mom and I had during my teenage years, I think my gesture helped heal some of our old wounds. With a finished family t-shirt quilt that signifies our close-knit family, I hope the quilt actually does make my parent’s empty nest a little less empty. I do know, however, my mom keeps the Gebhart family quilt on display in the family room, and is eager to show all her houseguests.
The second t-shirt quilt I did was for my little sister. Comprised of t-shirts from her swimming days, the quilt is two-sided. In fact, most of the shirts along the edge are shirts that had savable front and backs, and they are positioned in the quilt so you can flip the quilt edge over and see the reverse side of the shirt. (Pretty cool if you ask me….) In addition to making this quilt double sided, I also tried something new: I added small designs to the corners. Unfortunately, this proved harder than I imagined (probably because I didn’t have my friend’s grandma’s help on it). So, the corners turned out a little rougher than I anticipated. Despite the corner roughness, my little sister likes it, and that’s all that matters.
The third and most recent t-shirt quilt I made was for my co-worker/friend’s husband. I had shown her my first quilt, because I was like a proud mom showing everyone that would look, and she wanted to do one for her husband and all his shirts. So, in the couple of weeks between the end of my graduate project and his surprise 30th birthday party, I quilted away. Again, I tried something a little different with this one: this time, I added borders between the t-shirts. Adding these borders added a significant amount of sewing to the project, but I really like the way it turned out. My friend and her husband also liked loved the way it turned out. And, as I told them, because I made it for them, they can never forget their dear friend Andrea.
My mom says I should start my own t-shirt quilting side business because they make for great graduation gifts. However, I don’t think this is the business for me. T-shirt quilts are time consuming and take a lot of work. Plus, the purpose of a t-shirt quilt is to capture memories. If I can’t relate to the shirts that make up the quilt, I don’t think I’ll enjoy the project as much. That said, though, I have decided to offer my t-shirt quilting skills to my friends and family. So, if you know me, and are looking to have a t-shirt quilt made, let me know because I might be able to help you out! However, I will mention, the next t-shirt quilt I make will be for me. Now that I have plenty of practice, I’m ready to turn my old shirts into quilt.
Meet Mocha Jo June 9, 2013Posted by angebhart in Dog, Life, Mocha Jo.
I’ve only known her for two weeks and I have only spent a few days with her, but I have a new best friend: Mocha Jo.
Mocha is a shelter dog—a stray rescued during the dead of winter. I first heard about her back in February. My friend told me about her because she knew (1) my planned moved at the end of May was going to allow me to get a dog (finally!), and (2) I had my heart set on either a St. Bernard or a chocolate lab. Casually mentioning that a shelter in her hometown had recently recused a chocolate lab, my friend showed me photos of said dog. I immediately swooned over her; but my heart broke because it was only February and I had to wait three months before I could seriously start looking for a dog.
Throughout the next few months, my friend kept me posted on the status of the rescued chocolate lab. Despite her amiable demeanor and gorgeous puppy-dog face, no one had adopted her. How could this be? Who could say no to a dog like her? Even though I wanted this dog to have a good home, I was secretly glad she was still available for adoption because then I had a chance with her.
Finally, the middle of May arrived. With my move date rapidly approaching, my friend (who knows the shelter owner) helped set up a time to for me and The Boy to meet the chocolate lab.
When my friend called the shelter, she found out that the chocolate lab had been adopted a couple days before. My heart broke again. I was about fourteen days from being able to claim her as mine and she was snatched right out from under me. But, my friend had good news for me. There was a good possibility that the chocolate lab was going to be surrendered back to the shelter because the couple that adopted her wasn’t on the same page in what kind of dog (if any) they wanted. Thankfully for me (and eventually the chocolate lab), the adoption did fall through. A couple of days later, The Boy and I journeyed to York, Nebraska to meet the chocolate lab.
The second I saw her, I knew she would be mine. Given that I grew up with an incredibly large chocolate lab, she was a lot smaller than I expected—but I knew she would fit right in with my family’s dogs, who are both also on the smaller side of their respective breeds. It also helped that the chocolate lab was playing with a small puppy during our visit. The two of them were so cute together. In fact, I kind of wanted to bring both of them home.
Then I heard the chocolate lab’s story. Having been rescued near Champion Homes, the chocolate lab’s name was Champ. In February, a woman called the shelter about a stray dog. This woman expressed great concern for the dog because February was a particularly cold month this past winter. Sharing this woman’s concern, the shelter immediately began trying to catch the stray. However, the stray chocolate lab was pretty sly and evaded several attempts. The shelter eventually caught her, having resorted to a strategy involving a large trap cage and fried chicken. From the chocolate lab’s condition, it looked as though she’d been on her own for a while or someone had treated her pretty badly (I did not like the thought of either scenario!). She had several injuries, including a pretty bad tear on her ear; but with some loving care provided by the shelter and its partnering vet, the chocolate lab named Champ recovered nicely.
Her story made my heart sad, but I knew I could give her the happy ending she deserved.
So, there I was head over heels for this chocolate lab. My friend was also sold on me adopting the chocolate lab. But, then there was The Boy. Even though he knew he didn’t have much say in the matter, I mean, um … because it was a joint decision, he knew I was looking for his approval. He knew the chocolate lab was going home with us, but he wanted to milk the few minutes I anxiously waited for his answer. After tormenting me for a few minutes, he came to his senses and agreed this chocolate lab was “the one.”
Unfortunately, I was still about ten days from being able to take her home with me. I was a little concerned that the shelter would not want to hold her for a couple more weeks (mostly because she’d already been there for nearly three months), but the shelter was not only willing to hold her, the owner also arranged for the chocolate lab to be spayed during that time so we would have one less “new dog task” to deal with.
The next two weeks seemed to take forever. Not only was I in the process of moving, I was eagerly waiting for the day I could give this dog a real home.
Last Thursday, finally, The Boy and I journeyed back to York to bring our chocolate lab home. We decided to rename her Mocha Jo because although she is a chocolate lab mutt, she looks like a black lab in certain light—she is a dark chocolate lab, if you will. And to top it off, the white patch on her chest is like a little bit of whipped topping (pun intended).
The Boy and I weren’t sure how she would handle the forty five minute drive home, but Mocha was phenomenal. She snoozed the whole way.
We have had Mocha for three days now and we are convinced could not have found a more perfect dog. No accidents. No random chewed up objects. No excessive barking. In fact, it is almost unsettling how perfect Mocha is—not many new dog owners can say the first 72 hours were a breeze. Rather than pushing her limits and testing our patience, Mocha is proving to be a sweet and calm dog that appreciates a good home—a home in which she’s making herself quite comfortable.
I must admit that a large part of our new dog success (i.e. no accidents) is due to Kathy, the owner of K9 Coach Learning Center in York, Nebraska. In the three months Mocha was at the shelter, Kathy and her staff trained Mocha. Among other things, Mocha knows how to sit, lie down, shake, heel, fetch and walk on a loose leash. Kathy also kennel trained and house trained Mocha.
I barely know Kathy, but I am forever indebted to her. Not only did she rescue my Mocha from the freezing cold, she also gave us the perfect dog by taking the time to care for, train and love a stray dog.
The Boy and I absolutely love Mocha, and based on the hugs (a trick nurtured by Kathy) and kisses we get, Mocha loves us too. We may only be three days into our relationship, but I’m thinking Mocha’s story will end with a happily ever after.